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How can I get to DOS Command prompt???? Please help.

by DLKean / September 11, 2005 2:18 AM PDT

As you can imagine I have another PC downstairs (sisters) which she has just restored due to a virus. She uses her TV as the monitor and the problem is she can't remember where she was to type in a command other than it was at a DOS command prompt. mThey are trying to do so thru the windows based DOS command prompt. How do you get into DOS prior to windows loading. I know ther is a function key but not sure which one it is. If you can help it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Sister is driving me crazy LOL

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It depends
by Paul Roantree / September 11, 2005 3:06 AM PDT

Which operating system is employed.

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by caktus / September 11, 2005 3:17 AM PDT
In reply to: It depends

To open a command prompt, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.

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DOS before Windows opens
by El Alquimista / September 11, 2005 7:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Paul

The question was how to get to the DOS prompt before Windows opens. Paul is right, this depends on the OS. In Win 9x, F8 during boot took you to an options screen where DOS was one of the options. That option no longer exists in Win XP.

The only I know to do it with XP is to have a boot floppy or CD that contains DOS.


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"F8" key still...
by FrankQTran / September 11, 2005 7:31 AM PDT

available in WinXP. As soon as your P.O.S.T. finished you'll have to press "F8" simultanously and you would have another menu which contains "Safe mode to a DOS prompt" boot option.


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I did not say the F8 key did not provide an options screen
by El Alquimista / September 11, 2005 1:23 PM PDT
In reply to: "F8" key still...

I said that in XP the DOS option was no longer available on that screen. And that is true, at least for Win XP Pro. The option is Safe Mode with Command Prompt, which is not the same as an initial DOS prompt. If the XP Home options page says ''Safe mode to a DOS prompt,'' I question the terminology as XP does not really contain DOS -- just a partial emulation of it.

The original post asked ''How do you get into DOS prior to windows loading,'' and this was reiterated in my previous post. The key here is ''prior to Windows loading.'' The Command Prompt (or the DOS prompt in Frank Q's post) is under Windows Safe Mode; i.e., after Windows has loaded. This is not a solution to the question asked.

I fear that responders often do not read the questions carefully (and I am sometimes guilty of this myself) and post answers that are not really appropriate to the main question. This is very evident in this thread, where several posts refer to the Command Prompt option within Windows, not prior to windows.


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(NT) (NT) Sorry!
by FrankQTran / September 11, 2005 1:42 PM PDT
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I know this is years later, but it's NOT called DOS in
by batman823 / January 26, 2009 8:51 AM PST

windows XP anymore. It has a couple of other names. One is Command Prompt and the other is Recovery Console.

This is a fairly limited version of DOS but it will do most of the things you need done.

Back in the 90's, DOS would let you do anything you wanted it to do with a rare warning if you were about to do something that will crash your PC.

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Packard Bell Legend Supreme 1910 Screen Resolution Fix
by mangshawn / November 2, 2015 3:42 AM PST
In reply to: "F8" key still...

Thanks i forgot about the F8 Key, i just got back my old Packard Bell Legend Supreme 1910 and i adjusted the screen resolution too high then it wouldnt work on my monitor, so after i hit F8 i readjusted the screen resolution to what it was before and viola like magic windows 95 loaded like a charm. Probably will upgrade the ram to the max and see how fast this old dinasaur can run. Its more for ***** and giggles than anything else i will keep it running and maybe in a few decades it will be a real classic.

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by TheDanster21 / March 7, 2012 4:52 PM PST
In reply to: Paul

Thanks man, this was what i was looking for.

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DOS commamd prompt.....
by Papa Echo / September 11, 2005 8:08 AM PDT

..before Windows launches ? Depends on the version of Window, simply because ''DOS'' disappeared from Win98 SE onwards. You get a ''Commamd Prompt''. It works like DOS, but that is not DOS. The closest you get to launch it ''before Windows launches'' is when starting Windows in Safe Mode, where you get the option for ''Safe Mode with Command Prompt'', but that is not DOS, and that actually runs in Windows (Safe Mode) !

For Windows XP, the clostest to DOS is the commamd prompt you get by typing ''command'' at run, whhere you have to type the exist commamd to return to the desktop (as in real DOS), instead of the command prompt you get by typing "cmd" at run, where you exist by Xing out, as in Windows.

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dos xp ways to access
by mikeXP / January 2, 2006 2:45 PM PST

As before stated run -> then type cmd will open dos windows or you can download power toys from microsoft.
Open command prompt here.
If dos is dead why did they make such great a program that would let you right click on any folder in with windows explorer to open a dos window. Other great things that still need to be done with dos like print folder contents to notepad.
eg: all those files in my documents
Good luck

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Windows XP DOS prompt?
by trublubush / January 2, 2006 7:51 PM PST

I know this will sound crazy, but from your description of your sister's problem, it appears as though she was used to using Windows 3.1! And why would your sister be using her TV as a computer monitor?

Just which DOS command was your sister trying to type in? Was she using a windowed command prompt screen or a full DOS textmode screen?

As others here have already noted, the command prompt utility available in WinXP is not the same as the true DOS X.X operating system command prompt which acted as a comspec environment command interface only. The name of this command processor file was ''COMMAND.COM.'' The whole purpose of Microsoft's NT Windows Operating System is to provide the user with a true shell environment from the ground up. Windows 3.1 was a glorified user shell using a DOS dependent ''Kernel'' environment with graphical interface. The user options within a true shell environment far exceed those that are available in comspec only. WindowsXP does, however provide a true DOS-like environment for running old DOS programs. The file is called ''NTVDM.EXE(NT Virtual DOS Machine).'' ...And for programs needing valid Win 3.x system kernel interupts, ... a 16-bit provider file called ''WOWEXEC.EXE(Windows On Windows).'' Also WinXP provides a Win 3.x shell simulator using a file called ''PROGMAN.EXE.''

Another possibility regarding your sister's problem is this: She was used to using a special pre-boot feature provided by XP called ''Recovery Console.'' This feature MUST be installed manually and will result in the creation of a new disk partition with a black and white screen at boot-up time having the appearance of a ''DOS'' screen. Once installed, if ''Recovery Console'' is selected as a boot-up option from this ''multiple boot'' screen, a textmode prompt will appear that looks like a real DOS prompt. Recovery Console commands, however, only vaguely resemble those of the real DOS.

Some technicians forget to re-install this feature on computers that they've restored because most XP computers don't have it installed to begin with. It's an easy thing to overlook.

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You Can't
by urfrienddayakar / June 15, 2007 3:02 PM PDT

As per my six years experience you cannot get dos prompt before windows xp loads. But it is possible in Windows 98 be changing 'autoexec.bat' file, adding the command '\' in it.
But it is a drawback in windows xp not to have dos prompt before xp loads....................

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(NT) Check the date of the original poster
by tomron / June 15, 2007 9:02 PM PDT
In reply to: You Can't
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you can!!!
by jp0311 / September 16, 2009 1:09 PM PDT
In reply to: You Can't

I had the same problem accessing the dos prompt before xp loaded, but it's pretty self explanatory. Press escape and go to the set-up options. You must enable the internal hard drive, save and exit. Your computer will restart automatically and the dos prompt will appear on the screen. Press "R," insert your recovery disk and now you can start the restore and recovery process. So YES YOU CAN access dos prompt before windows xp loads.

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get to your windows files without entering windows
by atila1 / February 10, 2010 9:32 AM PST

Download a free copy of Linus Ubuntu onto a CD put it in your PC at the booting time, once it asks you to install Ubuntu don't do, ESC and a Ubuntu page will open giving you access to the entire computer. Now you can delete, save, anything you want to do before reformatting your computer and loosing everything. You don't need dos nor prompt command.

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Can't access DOS from F8 so I can boot to Linux
by ikatae / January 1, 2011 11:24 AM PST

Hi, my son's system crashed - the dreaded blue screen. I made a Linux live disk from my laptop- but can't boot from that - says NTLDR is missing. I figured I would then just reformat and boot from Linux disc - but can't access a DOS prompt. Just don't have that option when pressing F8 on boot. How do I get to DOS so I can reformat and just use Linux? THANKS!

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Forgot to mention
by ikatae / January 1, 2011 11:25 AM PST

He has XP on his computer. I made the Linux live disc from my laptop - Windows 7

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I think it's scrap metal
by ikatae / January 1, 2011 11:06 PM PST

)o: I tried everything I could think of to repair my son's PC. He was running XP and had 2 large hard drives. He boot from C. I tried to run from the Linux live disk - but got the "missing NDL

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by ikatae / January 1, 2011 11:09 PM PST

...." something. So I tried to go into safe mode and get to the dos prompt all I got was a string of stuff. So I tried to boot from the DOS disk - same thing - "missing file". Tried to boot from the Windows boot disk - same thing. Tried to boot from D drive - same thing. Physically removed the C disk - all the same thing. I have no idea where to even turn now. It's a shame - it's a nice machine.

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When the boot from CD fails on older machines.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 1, 2011 11:34 PM PST
In reply to: continued...

It's a sign to try a lens cleaner, double check those CDs boot elsewhere, and try a new CD drive. I can't explain why folk don't install a new drive but will replace the machine.

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I have tried 2 CD drives
by ikatae / January 2, 2011 2:08 AM PST

I have 2 CD drives on the machine and tried both. Just can't figure it out. )o:

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 2, 2011 2:12 AM PST

I can't tell if you tried the lens cleaner, checked if the CD boots elsewhere but can tell you tried the 2 old drives.

Looks like there is hope for this machine still.

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and the CD's themselves
by ikatae / January 2, 2011 2:09 AM PST

and the CD's themselves were fresh out of the package. I tried 2 different ones thinking it might be a bad Cd. I'm stumped.

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"the CD's themselves were fresh out of the package."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 2, 2011 2:18 AM PST

"the CD's themselves were fresh out of the package." is not a good test that they are bootable.

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The story really looks like a non-bootable CD ...
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 2, 2011 3:46 AM PST

or a bad drive.

Did you try booting on another PC?
Did you set the BIOS to boot from the CD?

And how did you burn that Linux to CD? Tell the details. There's are wrong ways and good ways, and wrong programs and good programs and even wrong ways with good programs. It turns out that quite a few people don't know how to burn an image, so burn it as data. That's wrong.

Just a few days ago I downloaded Ubuntu and burned it to CD. It booted with a strange Linux error. It turned out the downloaded image was 50 MB too small. Don't know why. Did another download from another site, and had a correct iso. That was too big for a CD: 740.000.000+ bytes. So I needed to burn it to DVD. My Nero refused to do that (it only wanted to do it to CD). So I had to use IMGBURN to burn it to DVD. Then I could boot from it.


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I used YouTube tutorials
by ikatae / January 2, 2011 5:15 AM PST
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One more time.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 2, 2011 5:18 AM PST

I can't tell if the CD is booting on other machines.

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With infrarecorder ...
by Kees_B Forum moderator / January 2, 2011 4:17 PM PST

you can do it wrong, and you can do it right. That's why I asked for the details.

Things you still don't tell:
- if this CD boots on other machines
- if other CD's boot on this machine
- how exactly you made this CD

Without this information, it's impossible to give any useful help.

For example, booting from the original Microsoft issued Windows XP should always work if the BIOS is set to boot from CD, the hardware is OK and the disk is OK. Then you can repartition the hard disk and reinstall Windows. This eliminates all possible issues with these Linux CD's you made. In post 19, however, you state that it doesn't work. That leaves 3 options:
1. The BIOS isn't set to boot from CD.
2. There's a hardware issue with the CD-drive, the cable or the motherboard.
3. The original Microsoft issued Windows XP disk is damaged.
Of course, if all is fine, you MAY install Linux. But there's no NEED to.


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Option I discovered by accident regarding boot from CD
by AnuDamiana / June 18, 2011 4:36 AM PDT

Out of sheer frustration with not being able to boot from my bootable cd (system had gone down, and I couldn't make the needed bios changes to boot specs).

Placed disk in cd tray--left it open.
turned machine on
pushed in cd tray
hit F2 key

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